Over coffee a friend and I were discussing the cold that is going around. I shared how my cold has been hanging on for weeks and I’ve tried all kinds of over the counter medications but none are helping. My friend shared that he didn’t like taking cold medication because it made him tired and wired all at the same time.
The truth of the statement made me laugh, however; it also made me think about how true this statement is for family caregivers. This past month as I’ve helped care for several family members I have spent most of my time exhausted in action. I didn’t think of stopping because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to start again.
The tasks associated with caregiving are numerous, especially when multiplied by the rest of our work/life responsibilities. I daily write blogs, articles and emails that share the importance of self-care, however; when our “in-motion” fuel is made up of a mixture of adrenaline, stress and worry with lack of sleep thrown in for good measure it’s hard to stop the momentum and take time for ourselves.
However; it’s crucial for all human beings to have down time in order to rejuvenate and be fully involved in the decisions needed to be made, as well as present for those we love.
Here are some tips to take you from tired and wired to active and healthy:
- Get a good night’s sleep – see worry hours for helpful tips
- Plan for the day – instead of running all over kingdom come, write down your appointments and errands for the day and set up a best scenario route. For example every day I write down what is the optimal route to drive to take care of all of my errands in an efficient and effective way (not to mention cost savings on gas).
- Evaluate requests– when people ask you to take on “other duties as assigned” evaluate each one by asking the following questions:
- Do I really have the time and the energy to take this on?
- Am I doing something that someone else can do for themselves?
- What will I have to give up in order to take this on?
- Set Boundaries– create “me-time” each day where you don’t answer your phone and you let your family and friends know that during this time no one can ask anything of you. Start with 10 minutes and increase your time each day by 5 minutes until you get up to an hour of focused time to yourself.
- This could include resting on your bed.
- Taking a bath.
- Walking around the block.
- Reading the paper.
Understand that taking care of yourself is key to truly helping those around you. Make yourself the priority today! You’ll be healthier for it.
For more resources visit CaregiverLife.com